tv American Artifacts CSPAN September 21, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
on her first full day in washington, the wife of president-elect franklin roosevelt invited a friend to accompany her on a pilgrimage. catching a cab, the two caught a street when her husband learned of her wartime affair her social cemetery. reaching rock creek cemetery, they halted. a woman about to become first lady of the united states ed her companion to a marble bench. in the old days when we lived here, said mrs. roosevelt, i was younger and not so very wise. sometimes i'd feel very unhappy sorry for myself. when i was feeling that way if i ould manage it, i would come out here alone and sit and look at that woman and i'd come away and ow feeling better
stronger. eleanor roosevelt was wrong the the gender of but shec bronze figure, aptured perfectly the peace of god that passth understanding. >> you're watching american istory tv, all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like c-span cebook at history. 50 years ago on september 24, supreme court chief justice warren handed a report assassination of kennedy to president lyndon johnson in the oval office. pictured commissioners here with president johnson and counsel jay lee ranken lee harvey oswald
acted alone in killing john f. kennedy. the warren commissioner worked n this building, a short walk from the u.s. supreme court building and the u.s. capitol. camera in a fourth floor conference room to talk to shenon, whose book "a cruel and shocking act" the history of the kennedy assassination examines the work, using key phone calls, documents, and artifacts, he explains some of the lingering regarding the warren report. first we take a brief tour of the warren commission offices. >> hi, i'm brian summers, of the u.s. ector historical society. you're in the building of the of foreign wars. the commission met here for nine months. we're in the room where so much of the testimony of the substantial those
to the investigation met here in this building itself. committee hearings would have at that ce down here time. fifth that work on the floor. you can see it houses the u.s. historical society. e're the fourth floor of the u.s. capital historical society floor for working the warren commission. the office of chief justice earl warren. this would have been chief and ce earl warren's desk his chair. was u're pretty sure this
his chair? >> absolutely. we have a lot of substantial that's from n it the vfw itself but also the desk to the society. we're less than almost 150 feet from the court building to the where he worked every day obviously and came here in the after hours to see the investigation was going on. you can glance out the window can see why the proximity to the court and the building here would have been to his choosing. of chief the office justice earl warren, this is the table that existed in the area office at that time. just next door to chief justice the warren's office was office of occupied staff a here.l arlen specter came to visit the building and pointed out this the office he and another associate worked in as they were investigating the death of the
president in 1964. now we're entering the what that room of time would have been, the warren commission investigating the death of the president. furniture in the room, the building itself, we the veterans rom of foreign war and inherited the s.mmission from the 1960 i think this room was used for interviews, itness smaller scale interviews of the ess critical witnesses that there was a very important and several of the usinesses was transacted in this room. i wrote this book because my irst book was a history of the "9/11 commission." i had covered the 9/11 "the new york times" from start to finish. after it went out of business, i
discovered there was a lot about story i had missed and i learned this by going and interviewing a lot of the taffers who had done the digging of the 9/11 commission. o that book was published in 2008. and after the book got some nice reviews, i got a telephone call of my desk in the washington times.of the new york the caller was somebody i didn't know, but he was a prominent herican lawyer who explained had begun his own career 50 staff of ier on the the other great commission to investigate a national tragedy warren commission. suggested i do a similar one of the warren commission and he promised to help as long as i out of this. would discover some embarrassing material which he was right about that.
covered up evidence, so much of story of the kennedy assassination had never been told. going to look at some artifacts. the first thing we have here is well, there's a picture of the warren commission. the oval office, almost 50 years ago, in which earl warren is report to final president johnson. and perhaps we want to point out the other members of the there.ion who were this is john jay mcloy, the world president of the bank and sort of great eminence in washington in long standing. this next to him is jay lee the general counsel, the olicitor general in the
eisenhower administration. next to him senator richard sign the o would warren commission report even though we became clear in the ears after the commission went out of business that russell didn't agree with the report that he thought there might well been a conspiracy in kennedy's death. next to him was gerald ford who on to become the president of it was united states who was at the time a powerful house republican. later be learned that ford had volunteered to be a secret informant to the fbi on to share sion information with the fbi quietly. ford would acknowledge that years later. next to him, chief justice johnson, next nt to president johnson is allen dulles. debacleorced out by the
for the bay of pigs. dulless had a terrible conflict because among other things it appears that dulles cia plots to kill fidel castro. ordered some of those but shared none of the information from the warren commission even though that have given -- suggested the investigation the commission followed.ve next to him, john sherman cooper, a senator from kentucky, moderate republican. and next to him is congressman who was s of louisiana prominent in the democratic leadership of the house and very to john kennedy. >> 50 years later, how should we day? that the anniversary of the release of the warren report? with mixed mark it feelings. unhappily, this report that was time to the definitive answer to many of the
uestions asked about the kennedy assassination appears been that. it is remarkable to discover hat linden johnson ultimately decided that the warren commission had it wrong. at the end of his life, lyndon castro thought fidel killed kennedy. t was a remarkable thing to discover. johnson is thrust into power by the assassination. is not to instinct have a federal investigation of the assassination. presidential assassination in 1963 was not a federal crime. if there was going to be a trial anyone, it would have to be arranged by the local and state in texas. ohnson didn't want a bunch of as he put it carpet baggers to go to the home state of texas to
run the investigation. wanted it run but the state and county and city officials in dallas. within days of the ssassination, conspiracy theories started to spin. and some of those focused on lyndon johnson in the murder of spread seles sorry. essentially the spirit spi theory swinging wildly. bring an end to it by a creation of an independent in washington based on all that could be learned about the assassination and the who was apparently the president's assassin. chief justices on earl warren as the only maun who can run this. arren was a controversial figure in america in 1963. for his s admired independence and personal integrity. he was a repibb. wanted the republican to run the investigation to prove
t was bipartisan and truly an effort to get at the facts, whatever it might be. dwronson decides that he wants representatives from the house and senate to serve on the he wants and decides as his own representative of the commission one of his best in the world, senator richard russell. probably the most powerful man senate in 1963, the chairman of the armed services and the fierce segregationist, a man who he in washington, d.c. loathed earl warren who was eading the supreme court on civil rights and civil liberties rulings that russell felt had potential to destroy what he described as the southern way of life and would bring to the south and homeland.is >> on the afternoon of friday, a
assassination, russell is call bid president johnson and asked if he could on the commission. not referred to as the warren ommission since it hasn't been announced that chief justice warren will lead the investigation of the assassination. declined saying he's in oor health suffering from emphysema and has too much to do on the senate. johnson listens to him, hangs up phone, and decides efbl though russell doesn't want to he will serve. richard russell is on it even if he doesn't want to be on it. you again, bother but i wanted you to know that i made an announcement. announcement of what. >> of this special commission. >> you have already? yes. i read ite got -- can
to you. the president is reporting on facts and circumstances relating to john . kennedy in the subsequent violent death and the man charged with his assassination. the president stated that the and minority leadership of the senate house had been both special commission. the members of the special chief justice chairman, richard ussell, georgia, senator john sherman, kentucky. gerald gs, louisiana, ford, michigan, dulles, washington, mcclay of new york. it's instructed to evaluate all information.able he federal bureau of investigations making complete investigations. justifiably s
johnsonasted about what had -- couldn't serve on the commission. know i don't have to tell you my emotions to you by i just that commission. i'm highly honored you'd think with it, n connection but i couldn't serve with chief justice warren. judge. like that >> it must have been for russell a nigh mare situation. e salutes and accepts the assignment over a final at justment. strong arm similar tactics on the chief justice. ohnson settles on warren early on as the only man who can run this investigation. warren gets the invitation to serve he turns it down flat. of e's a terrible history
supreme court justices serving. he doesn't have the time. he can't do it. e thinks the commission is a fine idea. but it cannot be led by him. hen johnson gets word that warren has turned down the nvitation, warren is summoned within hours of the oval office. and we to the best of our nowledge, there's no recording of. this but apparently the president tells warren in no terms that the assassination may lead to a that will kill 40 million americans and if that may be the responsibility of the chief justice unless he serves on this commission. apparently the confrontation te s the chief justice in tears but agreeing to run the investigation. >> this is an artifact of the to onal archives allowed us videotape. what is that?
mind, there is what in many ways is the untold chapter assassination tory, which is what happened when lee harvey oswald travelled weeks co city several before the assassination. i go it to admit when i went in didn't know ing, i anything about this incident in exico city, this trip to oswald. and it may be very important and it's clear to me that both the fbi were determined not to figure out what happened mexico city. it might have revealed how much knew about oswald in the weeks before the assassination and the threat he might pose to kennedy. it turns out oswald went to mexico city apparently to get paperwork that would allow him to defect to cuba much as he once had tried defect to the soviet union.
and while he's in mexico city, we now know of the cia in mexico city. meeting with cuban spies and russian spies and several are very ho ympathetic to fidel castro's revolution. people at the height of the cold war might have had a reason to see president kennedy dead. the identity of the people, what oswald told them, what they told oswald would never be told with fbi and because the the cia didn't try to get to the bottom of it. >> this is in the warren report. of he best reconstruction who he met with when he was in mexico. a tremendous amount of about oswald's trip shared with never
the warren commission. kron s a very incomplete ol of what went on. book begins with charles thomas that relates to mexico city. with that? start >> it's a remarkable story. >> a remarkable story. based in n diplomat mexico city learns to his shock have been seen round town mexico city in the company of cubans and mexicans castro, sympathetic to people who might have wanted to see president kennedy dead. and oswald may have been in the company of two young beet nick word that is used, americans in the city. people whose identities have
revealed.n thomas, apparently a very fine diplomat much respected by his colleagues felt like someone needed to investigate and go back and see if the warren it wrong had gotten and if there was a conspiracy to kill the president and if that mexicoacy was hatched in city. what the story becomes is putter frustration. and y wants to investigate get to the bottom of this. he keeps asking the question for reasons that are very mysterious to the time, thomas finds his career derailed. and he finds himself forced out of the state department for what ould later be described as mistakes of a clerical nature. there's a reason to believe he as forced out because he was asking what the cia and fbi knew about oswald in mexico city. forced outafter he's
state department, he is then denied the opportunity to get a new career because he the references of the state department and the rest of the government to allow him to get a job. he rds the end of his life the write a letter to secretary of state and asking, pleading that somebody again try bottom of what happened in mexico city. there's no subsequent investigation. to find a new tragically killed himself two years later. >> what did the warren mexico city. in what did they investigation or what as their opinion of happened there? two and the ly to
staff, associate by the slawsen andof david the authorities from denver, coleman was occupied with the philadelphia law firm and not much involved with the day-to-day work of the warren commission. all of the work. slawsen was intrigued by what happened in mexico city and anted to try to get to the bottom of what happened down there. unfortunately what we now know is a tremendous amount of never tion about it was shared with the commission. i think it's fair to say that never got to the bottom of what happened in mexico. >> this is an artifact that the allowed us to es videotape. it's oswald's address book. and that's the cover of it. then inside is this page, onsulate of cuba and a name,
soviet duran. appears to be an important important figure in this.f she's a young mexican woman, a committed socialist, who is the cuban consulate in mexico city. she is the person who dealt oswald while ith he's trying to get the paperwork defect.w him to there's a reason to believe there was a relationship that on outside of the walls of the cuban consulate and they ere seen around town together, including at cuban diplomat, ome of whom had spoken openly in the past about their hope omebody would kill president kennedy. the warren commission staff talk to sylvia duran, to interview her and find
know.at she might after much negotiation, it will s that sylvia duran come to washington, agree to be interviewed, that idea is vetoed justice warren who refuses to allow her to be interviewed. she's a communist, and his word, we don't talk to communists. vital witness is never talking to the commission. i tracked her down last year. continued to deny she had any relationship with oswald theide of the four walls of cuban consulate. but there's a lot of evidence to the contrary. want -- uld the cubans or some of them, apparently, assassinated.o be >> this is the height of the cold war. this is a year you know kennedy is killed a year after the cuban missile crisis when there's almost a cuba.r war over a year before that, there had bay of debacle at the pigs where the kennedy administration and the cia attempted to overthrow castro.
now know, of course, that the kennedy administration was trying to kill castro through -- through the assassination plots, some of them involving the mafia. page in oswald's address book, which is available archives has l p.ho -- james p. hosty. had 's the fbi agent that oswald under surveillance for weeks before the assassination. and went out to the home where oswald's life , were interviewing her. marina he basis of what oswald tells lee harvey oswald, notebook in his hosty's name, the telephone number. i believe it's the license plate fbi car. this particular piece of paper would ld's notebook
create an enormous rift between the fbi.ssion and because it appears the fbi tried to eliminate this portion of the notebook when it handed the documentation over to the warren ommission that actually it created a typewritten version of swald's notebook and removed hosty's name, apparently in an effort to prevent the warren knowing that m oswald knew that the fbi agent surveillance. that the fbi was monitoring his movements.
so agitated about the fbi's surveillance of him and his family before the assassination he actually went to the allas field office of the fbi early november, 1963 and present add letter in which he protested. fbi office in dallas would later say oswald appeared to be very angry, maybe crazy with anger and left note. after the assassination of oswald t kennedy and
himself is killed on sunday, november 24, the decision is fbi office in dallas that this note must be destroyed of how it's evidence much they had known about oswald or the fact they had been in oswald-face contact with weeks before the assassination. note, me agent takes the flushes it down the toilet. >> is it a surprise to you when things that of the there are a million conspiracy theories about it? >> not at all. at all. even the craziest conspiracy theory has no basis in fact because so much basic evidence or hidden from the first hours after president returned to y was washington from dallas. >> in the phone call, johnson
is going to fbi fully cooperate and help the commission. ?hat was it like a lot of the pieces of evidence have an fbi number. what was their relationship like? fbi, the cia, all of the agencies in government warrented fully with the commission after it got under way a week after the assassination. cia never d the cooperated fully with the commission. commission was a staff of a couple dozen people. it couldn't be part of the conductedion that was around the world. it depended on to some degree on the fbi to do a lot of that. the fbi is gathering raw material shared with the commission. is how much of the raw evidence that the fbi from the as withheld
commission. uth payne is a russian teacher in dallas who befriends marina marina oswaldites to live with her for a time is e lee harvey oswald living outside of dallas. he's a key figure and there's some suspicion that ms. payne new much more than she was sharing. history shows she was forthright. >> this is an artifact is one of archives of the assassination. bullet found in the home of general walker. walker was a retired he'd been retired
creating a stir. extremist whoight was overseeing extreme ties groups in the dallas area. figure in the session rele gags movement. 1963, several months before the kennedy assassination, someone tries to edwin walker at his home in dallas. at the time, for weeks there clear who the t assassin was. it would be determined by the warren commission that the is lee harvey oswald and he may well have used the ame rifle in trying to kill walker that he would use in dealy plaza to kill president kennedy. marina oswald in the course of the warren commission it's her tion who says husband that he had admitted to
her the night of the attempt. ion >> we're in the offices that the warren commission occupied. did she come here? she did indeed. she came on more than one occasion. for several days in february, 1964. leadoff witness. she made it clear that her killed president kindy and thought he had done it alone. called back more than once after serious questions were of her truthfulness. she denied that she had any knowledge of this mexico city trip. out later that she knew all about it and she knew all about it before her husband had gone there. so-called magic bullet. significance of that for the commission? >> the most controversial piece of evidence from the kennedy
assassination investigation. bullet that the commission staff would conclude had passed through the bodies of both president kennedy and texas governor connolly. that contradicted the report that found three bullets landed limousine.sident's the first one hit president kennedy in the back. the second one hit governor back.ly in the the third hit president kennedy fatal shot. the but the commission staff etermined using the zapruder film as a clock of the assassination that oswald just time to fire off three individual bullets into the limousine. f he didn't have time, that , at sts there's a second least one other gunmen in dealey plaza. they came one a theory, a theory ffered by one of the navy
pathologists that conducts president kennedy's autopsy that perhaps one bullet passed both bodies. that's what the commission staff and i think subsequently a lot scientists and technical teams have determined as well, that one bullet passed bodies of both men and that this is that bullet. what surprised a lot of people that this bullet wasn't much more damaged than it appears to be. as the imes refers to pristine bullet. fully press teen. it is damaged some. some scientists would say it is more damaged. no rules here. ballistics investigation is much more art than science. of the most reliable scientific evidence that you bullet did pass through both bodies and it turned up in parkland hospital death. he president's >> i think at the end here here's the original letter
accompanying the bullet and description of finding it. the falls off of stretcher. it becomes important to the commission staff and arlen young investigator who's handling a lot of this vidence that it be shown this bullet fell from governor connolly's stretcher since it through passed president kennedy's body before it hit connolly. t the end of the investigation the commission concludes it did come from governor connolly's stretcher. mentioned an fbi report that made conclusions. > a lot of confusion in the beginning of the investigation is created by what is supposedly an authority tif fbi report on the assassination. the white house and the warren commission on december of 1963. in the sedly resulted most aggressive fbi all time.ion of
takes one commission look at it. most of the commissioners so the commission will have to do a much more aggressive investigation of its own. to rely on the fbi to do a lot of the basic detective work. relationship between the fbi and the warren commission was very strained and this has a lot to do with setting that ugly tone that existed between them with the rest of the investigation. > how could the nation's eading law enforcement agency ith labs and agents make a report that they considered inadequate and sloppy? >> a good question. of course, that the in the era of j. edgar disciplined ver as
never had the integrity we hoped it would have. a big problem after the assassination. because as it turned out, the did have lee harvey oswald under surveillance before the assassination. fbi t became important to director j. edgar hoover to oswald was a lone wolf. he carried out this assassination alone. it.ody knew about there was no conspiracy. certainly no conspiracy that the fbi could have foiled. seems determined to prove hat regardless of what the facts might show. >> this is a model used by the warren commission. >> this model exists in the what
be the texas school book depository. it easy for people to understand the sequence of events in dealey plaza. mott els of cars were used to indicate where the cars ent's limousine and in the motorcade had been at different times. specter, again at the time an assistant district attorney of philadelphia, to the temporarily warren commission. he is often referred to as the single bullet theory. you can see him here how the single bullet theory would have happened. he bullet passing through the body of the first gentleman president kennedy that it would have passed through kennedy and hit governor in the back. the commission staff felt days ly from the earliest
they needed to go to dallas. they're trying to reconstruct as of the assassination scene as they could. hey wanted to take the rifle, the one that oswald apparently used, they wanted to take it the to the sixth floor of texas school book depository. they wanted to affix camera to see what it and oswald would have seen through the scope of his rifle when he taking the shots. that's what they're doing here with the assistance principally the fbi. it turns out chief justice arren didn't want to do the reconstruction. he thought it was unnecessary. he didn't want to create media ruckus in dallas. convinced it has to be done. >> in the same film that you can download on-line is a reconstruction of oswald's movements after the shooting. >> reconstruction of the perch floor. sixth this is a gentleman in the role the area of ving
the perch on the sixth floor showing how he would leave that floor and left the building. following all the way down to the cafeteria where a man sits down to drink a coke. the timing of him eaving his perch and exiting the building so important? > it's important because witnesses do encounter oswald in downstairs.ia have timeon is did he to fire the shots and get seeing that he could swig a soda. poised but bly that's true of oswald in several
asalas ons after the nation. calm, poised, articulate as he denies he had any involvement in the assassination. >> i would say this about the ballistics evidence. it's a confusing topic. f only because certain experience for the warren and many, many had been done in the decades since. think it's fair to say that the most reliable scientific evidence that the bullet and fragments that can be identified appeared to have come rifle. wald's >> this is one that you equested that you look at the ational archives allowed us to videotape? bus transfer ticket found in oswald's pocket after his arrest.
by the s carried out staff but not in the final report which is one of the most staff ive of the young lawyers on the commission becomes convinced that oswald was trying to flee somewhere. place in mind e to go after the assassination. young lawyer, a fellow by the name of david bellan from iowa finds this bus transfer from the day of the suggesting that oswald was going to use this bus ransfer somewhere in particular. oswald knew the bus routes of dallas. he used the public transport all time. the conclusion was he was going to use the transfer because he wanted re was a bus he to connect to. this young lawyer comes to the conclusion eventually that might well have been heading back to mexico. if something had happened in his mexico city visit, perhaps he encountered cubans or mexicans sympathetic to castro who offered to help oswald to
united states after the assassination. as i say, that theory -- it's in the final report because the warren leaders speculation, e out they wanted to rule out that people knew about conspiracy. >> someone new had a theory bus transfer and the commissioners. a lot of the young staffer, they from chief justice warren. there was little interaction. hat's a matter of great frustration. the bus transfer and the theory of going to mexico because promised to help him, that never gets close to getting to the final report.
staffers with the commission ruling it out. commission doesn't want to encourage the speculation even hough some of the speculation may point to co-conspirators in the assassination. the zapruder camera s it's stored in the national archives. >> abraham zapruder is a dallas women's wear manufacturer who on the day of the assassination anted to record images of the president's motorcade passing through dealey plaza. movie camera me and it turned out that abraham all of would capture he essential images oh of the assassination. 26 seconds of film and certainly the most important piece of warren that the commission had. it documented every essential moment of the assassination.
and it's a clock on the assassination. when individual shots were fired individual shots hit the bodies of president kennedy connolly. or >> zapruder very quickly after sold the film on "life" magazine. that created an awkward warren n where the commission didn't have access to the piece of information. eventually they hand over the food so the commission could see it. undoubtedly , it's the most important piece of physical evidence that the commission had access to. you told us cument about in e-mail, unpublished scott. by winston >> the cia station chief in 1963. city in he's more powerful than any of
mexico city rs in he served under. 1956, i here since believe. sources in the mexican government. they had oswald under the mexico city trip. when scott told the warren commission that they went to meet with him. staff members go to meet with him, he tells the warren commission that he does not conspiracy.e was a certainly no conspiracy that had mexico city or staff veillance that the conducted in oswald that was there.
the emoirs declassified in 1990s that he thought there might well have been a onspiracy that involved some communist government. he thought it might have been the soviet union. him not easons for telling the truth to the warren commission in 1964 are baffling. i think there's good reason to that he knew much more about lee harvey oswald's trip o mexico than he wanted to share with the warren commission nly to prove that he believed oswald might be a threat and never passed on the information to washington where it might ave been used to save the president's life. >> xardz the end of your book, an eye popping document in the cia, a 132-page sort of summary oswald?they knew about cia puts together a
chronology day by day about what known about lee harvey oswald, specifically focused on what the cia knew about his to mexico. showed that the cia had been aware quickly after the assassination, certainly shortly after the warren commission went out of business that there was oswaldre to the story of and mexico city than had ever washington.with nd, again, the record shows that oswald never told anyone, even to this day, i believe. here's documents about the kennedy's assassination about the ci a's knowledge of oswald under e classified and seal at the national archives. there's reason to believe that cia may have had contact with oswald in mexico city. nd i think the cia may have
feared if that fact if it had become known they were in contact with oswald would have a massive scandal for he cia, a scandal that the agency did not want to address. years later, congress would kennedy te the assassination, the house of representatives. cia found witnesses in the that they had surveillance photographs and appear there had recordings of the telephone calls in mexico city. all of this evidence would never shared with the warren ommission, in fact the cia claimed the tapes were erased routinely before the these nation and photographs never existed. you begin in mention cho city
and ends in mexico city. this is the address book. can we know what happens there? what's your conclusion? >> i tell you one bit of hope i ave here is there may still be questions to be answered in mexico city. there to this e ols waldthey knew what was doing that they shared with the united states government or were asked about at that time. of the people were ignored by the fbi and cia in 1936 and 1964. seem to be able to place oswald in the company of people who may have wanted to kennedy dead, who may have encouraged him to go what he exas and do did. most eye popping document i found in all of the work that i did on this book, national ound at the archives, is a letter that was j. edgar i director
hoover to the warren commission in june of 1964 in which he reveals, and i think he reveals ery reluctantly, that the fbi had come across reliable information to suggest that he's in mexico had been talking openly about the ntention to kill president kennedy. embassy.ed into an communist embassy, and announced that he was going to kill kennedy.t the letter from hoover to warren commission seems to have disappeared. i've shown it to members of the staff, the menon who should have seen it at the time, who should have been able in ollow up and investigate mexico city. they're convinced they never saw it. would had seen it, you think that they would go back to find out who else had heard oswald make that
information. were there people in mexico city hearing this man talk openly about his plan to kill president kennedy encourage him to do that? him help if he could ever get out of the united states after killing the president. commission staff wasn't allowed to investigate because it appears they never saw this letter. >> this is a video of the -- of printing office's opy of the warren report 26 volumes. did this work serve the public well? >> i think unhappily history commissionthe warren missed a tremendous amount of information. perhaps inadvertently, information was hidden from the warren commission. there is at least the possibility that people around knew what he ald was doing and may have encouraged him to do what he was going do. conspiracy is a loaded word
but that does raise the question whether or not there are other people. >> we're in the conference room that they used. book shelves, the same book table. what did the people who came to book, what's this been their reaction to your work. >> i think a lot of them have horrified to discover just how much evidence was withheld 1964.hem in i think they all had a strong sense that material had been hidden from the way back when. i don't think they knew the it until now. a lot of the people, the staffers, the central people in of them were gratified to see that my book recognizes the fact that most of hide ere not trying to anything. many of them were eager to find a conspiracy if one existed. hey worked their hearts out on this investigation. some of them to the point of physical collapse.
i think they're pleased by the that history will show that they tried to do their jobs well. if the warren commission failed, them.n't because of they tried to make it work. written two books very important commissions of the united states. value can the public draw from the commissions? >> the largest conclusion i've which is that both the 9/11 commission and the warren ommission investigation were hindered by the fact that politics and politicians played role that have damaged the reputation of both investigations. in the whether or not future when we face the next national tragedy which is its way, whether or not we want to have truly independent scholars and run these investigations. i think that might have served
us very well. historians, real scientists, real tick in in the s got involved investigation of president kennedy in 9/11, that might have a lot of the conspiracy theories about both of those tragedies that we still have to contend with. >> each week, american history you real america brings archival films to help the tell century.y of the 20th a week after president kindy's johnsonation, president established the commission to the circumstances surrounding justice headed by chief earl warren, it released the inal report and concluded that lee harvey oswald hat acted alone in killing the president. stepped out into the andets so i took the camera
aimed it focused it and stood for and looked through it quite a few seconds because i wanted to be sure they were looking at me. followed it for so many sektdz. i did take the picture. >> just as the shutter snapped, was a shot. nd this is what mrs. norman found in her polaroid camera. i say shot. a mmediately thought it was shot. i thought it was a rifle shot. i hunt add great dealf in my life. many times.fle i thought it was a rifle shot. why? know.'t it wasmmediately thought an assassination attempt. it's the only thing that crossed my mind. me.r swept through
i immediately thought of him, of course. the jump seat n in the passenger car immediately in front of him. i turned thinking that the shot from back over my right shoulder. i turned to look in that by two n motivated things. to see where the shot came from, see if i can see anything unusual. equally or more important to me in that thought process was a esire to see him, see what had happened, see if he was all right. sauf nothing d i but a tremendous amount of that i just come. nothing out of the way, unusual. except people had startled looks their faces. turning, looking. i didn't catch him in the corner of my eye. process of the turning to my left to look back over my left shoulder.
to see if i could see him in the back seat. that's when i felt the impact of bullet that hit me. there's no -- there's no great pain. associated with the -- with the bullet that hit me. notwithstanding it went in the back shoulder and came out my here. back i felt someone hit me in the back in a sharp blow with a doubled up fist. rather than a searing pain. it more or less knocked me over, i least enough to where looked down. i was covered with blood. nd frankly thought i had been fatally hit. i said, as i recall, my god, kill us all. to in the war, a lot of soldiers were getting
three to four years. that i wither getting letters home, the farms are falling to patrollers in re the air, they're taking supplies from us. when are you coming home. a large problem with desertions, not from the didn't nt of soldiers want to go to battle, it was the heart strings pulled by the needing them back home. so what lee had imposed was a fairly strict set of orders that shot and theuld be punishments of -- there were of this ccurrences happening. the morale was so low about this les miserables came out in book form. there were several troops in the shop and they saw it on the shelf and they said, oh, that's miserables. >> we're marking the 150th the civil war
with people and events that shaped the area. p.m. eastern on american >> on august 14, 1995, japan surrendered to the allies. that day which came to be known as victory over japan day marked the end of world war ii. next on american history tv, a ceremony commemorating v.j. day from the national world war ii memorial in washington, d.c. george prescot bush, grandson of president h.w. bush, marks the day 70 years ago when his grandfather was shot down over the pacific while serving as a fighter pilot in the u.s. navy. the national parks service and friends of the national world war ii memorial hosted this event. [applause] >> thank you very much. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. on behalf of the friends of the national world war ii memorial board of director and our chairman, general mcclickliter,